Published Mar 26, 2009With graceful conviction, Toronto, ON's Great Lake Swimmers continue to nurture a sound that pumps blood and raises hairs with Lost Channels, but they illuminate dark corners with brighter rays of light than they've previously employed. On lead track "Palmistry," the shimmering mandolin notes of guest Bob Egan introduce the makings of a bold, lush record with an unusually upbeat flavour. With his distinctive voice and weighty lyricism, Tony Dekker appears like a mature guide, providing the exuberant interplay with wise restraint, which leads to the mid-tempo Calexico groove of "Everything is Moving So Fast." There's no mistaking it though: there are instances on Lost Channels where the songs beg for mischief to fill the open, uncharted recording spaces that Dekker and long-time collaborator/producer Andy Magoffin have proven so adept at discovering over the years. So, a witty thing like "Pulling on a Line" or "She Comes to Me in Dreams," which hints at the sunnier aspects of the Cure, can co-exist happily with the sparse, harrowing folk of "Stealing Tomorrow" and "River's Edge." There's a breathtaking richness to Lost Channels, as Great Lake Swimmers conjure an abstract, contemporary landscape split between pained defeat and overt optimism.
Is Lost Channels a departure sonically?
Dekker: We approached it the same way, in trying to use some unique acoustic spaces, but we drew on a lot more sources in the 1,000 Islands region. It seems like it's divided into a side A and B, with some more up-tempo songs, which is a step forward, or slightly different, for us.
Are the band bigger now?
We're basically a touring five-piece and our new drummer, Greg Milson, has brought a musicality - he plays them like a piano really. Julie Fader's brought such a huge element as well and we're just one big happy family. And we finally have a sound guy on the road, which makes a huge difference.
Are these songs connected thematically?
Having a body of work before and writing after getting there kind of melted themes together with some of the things that were inspired by the places we were in. I think the idea of the river found its way in with all of its connotations: the passage of time, the ever-changing yet ever-sameness of a place or idea. I didn't set out to do that but, looking back, I see those themes popping up. (Nettwerk)